Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Five Things that Make Me Happy

Sorry for playing hooky yesterday. The past week or so has been a perfect storm of work and theater obligations, and my schedule is not going to ease up in any meaningful way until Doubt opens on November 13. (Tickets are going fast. Make your reservations here.)

I fell asleep last night before the final election returns came in, and woke up this morning to find that Maine had voted yes on Question 1, the people's veto of a law to allow same-sex marriages. I'm so sad and disgusted about this I can't express it.

Let me be clear: I'm a straight woman who chose not to get married (although I retain the prerogative to change my mind), and I also still identify myself as Catholic. The right to legal marriage isn't a religious issue, it's a civil one. The prohibition of same-sex marriage is the denial of a civil right based on a judgment rooted in religious ideas of marriage, not legal ones.

I have seen firsthand how families form through the miracle of adoption, which is all about choosing to build a family above and beyond the usual limits of biology. Whether or not they're biologically conventional, all happy families are an act of will, of an affirmative decision to live together and love each other. Every family deserves the protections and advantages our legal system offers to people who make that choice.

My sorrow and rage over this are distracting me from work, and I have too much to do today. Here are five things that make me happy, which I hope will be enough to reset my brain and let me focus on the next project.

1. Greek yogurt. I came late to Greek yogurt, discovering it for the first time when I lived in Brooklyn last year. I like its texture, which is like sour cream without the calories. It's hard to find in central Maine; the Gardiner Hannaford has only recently started to carry it, and only carries the plain and vanilla varieties.

2. Live music. Live music feels like magic to me. At various points in my life I have taken lessons in guitar, voice and keyboard, but those taught me that my talent is for listening to music, not making it. It always amazes me to hear what sounds can come from boxes and strings, and live music makes the worst day better.

3. Dogs. Dizzy lives a simple life: he sleeps, he eats, he patrols the neighborhood, he plays with his friends. Every new person he meets is a potential source of treats and petting, every open car door is an invitation to adventure, every other dog is a potential ally in the war against squirrels and cats. He expects the best, doesn't dwell on disappointment, and rarely holds a grudge. He states his needs without apology. I should follow his example more often.

4. New books. A major perk of my current lifestyle is the fact that sometimes the mail brings me boxes of free books I didn't ask for. They're not always things I want to read, but every one of them holds the possibility of delight.

5. Wine. I'm not an alcoholic; in fact, I don't think I have any alcohol in the house at the moment, except a bottle of bourbon I keep for medicinal purposes (seriously: bourbon, lemon, honey and hot water is every bit as effective as Robitussin, and tastes better). But a good bottle of wine makes happy times happier, and takes the edge off unhappy ones. In the words of Ben Franklin, "Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy." (Get that, Yes on 1 supporters? God loves us and loves to see us happy. Why don't you?)

What makes you happy? Leave a happy thought in the comments section.

Edited to add: my brother Ed reminded me of this song, which always makes me happy and seems appropriate to the day. I sing it to Dizzy all the time, and when I played this video he raised his head to see who else knew that song, and where it was coming from.


Anonymous said...

All-you-can-eat breakfast bars. Sure restaurants like honey's are embodiments of everything that's wrong with America, but those restaurants are also embodiments of everything that is spectacularly right about living in America.

-- Ed

Chip said...

You're a riot, and a grouch, too. But I still love you.

sarirose said...

Happiness to me is Gracie's smile, Mara saying, "My Gamma get it for me." when Kathleen has brushed her off.
I sit mesmerized by the birds at the feeder and winter in Florida.
As for gay marriage, it is strange that we still do not allow for the protection of partners in a relationship.

Anonymous said...

A baby's laughter makes me happy. Nothing better in the world.

steve said...

Of course my children make me happy...and my husband (most of the time). But beyond that...

Treasure Hunting (treasure of any kind will do)

A really good book

The smell of nutmeg


Larry said...

As for the Maine vote, if i were closer I'd give you a hug. YES it's all about people. Is my marriage, or my family threatened because my "neighbors" are gay? Are they threatened because I'm not?

As a people we really need to get over ourselves!

Anonymous said...

Right now, holding the baby guinea pigs at school. They're little, they're cute, and once they get used to the idea that you're holding them they just squeak as loud as they can, they don't care who hears them.

SarahLea said...

Today my son said to me "I'm amazed at how much you can accomplish". It was out of nowhere, unexpected, and kind. It made me happy.